Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here we take our leave of Sir R. Ker Porter; but, at parting, shall just remark that we should have received much more pleasure from the perusal of his work, and should have thought it worthy of much higher commendation if it had been less frothy and declamatory. The worthy knight has all the bad taste of the Della Crusca school; and we know not a worse school that an author can frequent if he wish to write pure English or plain sense. We will just adduce an instance or two of the affinity in phraseology between Sir R. Ker Porter and Della Crusca, Anna Matilda, &c. &c. At p. 133. he says, that if the pacific proposals of Bonaparte, when at Moscow, had been accepted, the Russian people would have been "a nation of slaves, planged into a gulf of intellectual darkness more barren of light than that of the remotest hyperborean hordes.” In the same p. 133. he talks of the “sun of mental light and personal liberly which rose with Alexander's natal star.” The following is another notable specimen of the Della Crusca foppery of phrase: “General Miloradovitch ceased not to press upon their left flank while he proceeded with Platoff and his clouds of the Don, which, with a fiercer fire than ever shot from the Boreal Morn, hung on the corps of Beauharnois."

Sir R. Ker Porter will probably think us very sour curmudgeons for finding fault with his “ Boreal Morn," but we cannot compliment the knight at the expense of taste and of truth.

ORIGINAL.

BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR

OF

OLIVER ELLSWORTH.

[The substance of the narrative part of the following article was originally published

about a year ago in a periodical publication of considerable literary merit, which, from various causes, did not meet with the success it deserved, and was confined to a very limited circulation As the facts had been collected with considerable labour, and from different sources of the highest authority, the writer was desirous that this biography should appear in some form which might insure it a more general attention. But upon looking over it for the purpose of making some slight corrections and additions with regard to facts, so many other alterations suggested themselves, and so many observations occurred to him as arising naturally out of the narrative, that he found it more easy to write a new biography, than to revise the old one. As, however, the general statement of facts is of course nearly the same, and some paragraphs have been retained with but slight alterations, it was thought proper to mention this circumstance, lest, perhaps, the author should be suspected of plagiarism from the former anonymous article.]

THERE is in every community a certain natural aristocracy, whose members, by the power of native talents, fashion to their own model the character of the society around them. Their individual influence may oftentimes be scarcely perceptible, but their aggregate weight is at length always felt, and they leave the strong impression of their own peculiar genius indelibly stamped upon the character of the age and nation. These master-spirits of the times may be divided into three great classes, the characteristic features of which are sometimes blended in an individual, but in the main very strongly distinguish them from each other. First, may be ranked those whose genius is kindled by the divine enthusiasm of poetry and eloquence, and who are largely endowed with a facility of selecting and combining lofty or pleasing images, and with that creative fancy which embodies and animates them; faculties, which, displayed in various modes, and evolved in different degrees, by exercise and cultivation, are the sources of all that adorns, and much which gladdens life.

Distinct from these may be placed the men of theory and abstraction—the discoverers and the teachers of high truth and general principles; and lastly, those born for the management of

1

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

affairs, and formed by nature for the bustle and the contests of active life, who, without waiting for the gradual formation of par. ticular habit by the slow process of education or of practice, as. similate themselves at once to their station, and discharge whatever duties mau ha impedoman the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

interior of Connecticut, April 29th, 1745, of respectable but not very wealthy parents. He was brought up in the simple, regular, and frugal mode of life which at that time universally prevailed

throughout the province, and which is still, although in a less de. ! gree, a striking characteristic of the domestic manners of Connecticut.

The state of manners and of education in New England, about this period, was, perhaps, of all others, the best calculated to rear up men fitted to struggle through the toils, the difficulties, and the dangers of a great revolution, without endangering the safety of those republican institutions for which they contended, either by turbulent violence, or unprincipled ambition. A greater proportion of the whole population of the country bad received a

« PreviousContinue »